For the best results, mushroom hunters need to have the right equipment, the right clothes, and the right identification kit. You also need to know the Country Code and the Mushroom Picker’s Code. This way, your mushroom gathering will be efficient, ecologically sound, and safe. Read on to find out why.
We recommend a minimum of two open-weave baskets. Keep at least one for the mushrooms you’ve confidently identified. But carry another for the ones you’re not sure of, and don’t use it for anything else (so that there’s no problem if a poisonous specimen gets in). Why open-weave? Putting your find in the basket cap upwards (which helps keep it clean), means that its spores can fall through the gaps: this way you help the species to spread as you roam. We use fern fronds to separate the layers of picked mushrooms, for the same reason.
Always pick mushrooms with a knife – a sharp knife with a short blade and an easy-grip handle so you can cut through the mushroom stem as you pick it, all with one hand if possible. (Digging or pulling can disturb the underground trails on which many mushrooms grow.) Clean the knife carefully with tissue or kitchen towel between each picking – be scrupulous about this. Put the used tissues in a separate plastic bag and throw the lot away as soon as you get home.
You can buy special knives for mushrooming, with a blade at one end and a brush at the other. But a separate small soft brush, the sort used for make-up or pastry, is just as good. Brush all your finds clean of debris – this keeps the contents of your basket clean, and there’ll be less to do when you get home eager to start cooking!
Use a disposable glove (or put your hand inside a small plastic bag) if you’re picking ANY fungi that might be poisonous. Put used gloves/bags in the throwaway bag with the tissues you used to clean your knife.
We also recommend that you carry a long stick – just a little shorter than you are. It’s invaluable for parting bracken and undergrowth to discover hidden fungi. Use it to turn over doubtful specimens, and to clear away leaf mould and other.
Following the first successful book published in 1995 Peter has written a new book which was launched in September 2006. Entitled ‘A field guide to the edible mushrooms of Britain and Europe’ published by New Holland, the book contains over 300 new photographs taken by Peter Henley and Peter Jordan and gives all the information you need for successful hunting as well as some useful cooking hints.
You can find it in bookshops around the country or order a signed copy on this website.
We continue to offer Foray trips so keep an eye on the ‘What’s On’ page, the new 2007 programme will be announced in February 2007. Why not give a Foray Voucher for Christmas. We also offer a range of products for the enthusiast easily obtained by mail order.
Good luck with you hunting and we hope you enjoy the site .
Your comments are always welcome including your favourite wild mushroom recipe.
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